While the Nov. 30 National Thanksgiving Mass in Cebu City was generally successful, a weak sound system was a major hitch that church organizers will be looking into.
People could hear the liturgical rites in the main altar but the choir music of almost 2,000 singers could barely be heard by the thousands who filled the 27-hectare venue in the South Road Properties.
Those nearest to the altar could only hear the main presider, Cebu Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, as well as the liturgical readers, and the concelebrants who spoke at the altar.
(Those watching on TV or through Internet videostreaming got a clear reception depending on their location and the capacity of their gadgets.)
“I was disappointed with the sound system. We’re still assessing what happened,” said Msgr. Dennis Villarojo, overall chairman of the Cebu celebration for Calungsod’s sainthood, in an interview after the Mass which ended at 7 p.m.
Anticipating that the sound system would not carry sound well across the vast field, advisories were sent out earlier by the Archdiocese of Cebu for people to bring portable radios so they can follow the Mass through the live broadcasts by TV and radio stations.
The audio from the altar was clear, Villarojo said, but the reach in other areas was deficient.
“The sound was a major glitch. It could have added color to the celebration. That’s the truth we have to face,” Villarojo said.
Renowned Cebuano composer Msgr. Rodolfo Villanueva led a bleacher full of choir members positioned at one side of the templete. They sang hymns and chanted portions of the Mass in English, Latin and Cebuano.
The singers came from different parishes in Cebu and the San Carlos Seminary.
The audio quality, a crucial element in an outdoor Mass, will be taken up in post-event evaluations to follow by the Cebu Archdiocese.
Nevertheless, Villarojo said he was consoled by the faith demonstrated by people in joining the thanksgiving celebration.
“The number of people who came gave us joy. If I’ll measure the fervor of the people, the event was succesful,” Villarojo said.
He said the best impact can be seen in those who participated in the Mass.
“Every celebration like this should bear fruit in the lives of individuals. May they recognize the sacrifices of St. Pedro Calungsod,” he said. /Ador Vincent Mayol, Reporter